LOS ANGELES - Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to workers who further their education. But then there’s the United States Football League (USFL).
The new professional football league announced on Wednesday it would be partnering with Strategic Education’s Strayer University and Capella University to offer a college degree program that is tuition-free and debt-free. USFL players and staff will be able to take classes online through Capella or online and in-person at Strayer, according to a news release.
"We are delighted to partner with Strategic Education, a market leader in online education in the United States," said Edward Hartman, USFL Executive Vice President of Business Operations.
It’s quite common for college athletes to leave school early in pursuit of a professional career. Many of them return to school at later dates in hopes of finishing their degree.
"Athletic dreams often compete with educational goals, so we are hoping to reduce the burden by supporting USFL players and staff in their effort to achieve college degrees by proudly offering this free benefit," Hartman said.
Both Capella and Strayer are institutionally accredited universities that support busy, working adults achieve their academic goals, the news release stated. Robert Silberman, executive chairman of Strategic Education, said their institutions have been educating adult learners for 130 years.
The program’s flexibility will allow students to pursue associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees in business, healthcare, IT, education and more.
"We are thrilled to partner with the United States Football League to provide their players and staff with engaging and flexible degree programs," said Robert Silberman, executive chairman of Strategic Education.
The USFL is a new, independent American football league controlled by FOX Sports through NSFL HoldCo, LLC, a new business entity. It is not associated or affiliated with the USFL of the 1980s or its owners.
The league is launching this April with the following eight teams:
- Birmingham Stallions
- Houston Gamblers
- New Orleans Breakers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
Each team will play a 10-game schedule that runs into the summer months. Games will be played on both Saturday and Sunday, with special broadcasts on some Fridays and Mondays.
FOX Sports is an official broadcast partner of the USFL and will air games on a weekly basis.
All games in the inaugural season will be played in a single host city. League officials hope to play games in future seasons in the teams’ home markets.
According to WBRC, leaders in Birmingham have been trying to secure the city as this season’s host. The all-new Protective Stadium and Legion Field would serve as the league’s two stadiums.
This story was reported from Atlanta.